An article in Science Daily says that a derivative of the popular Middle Eastern spice turmeric, or curcumin, its active ingredient, shows promise for repairing damage due to stroke.
The medicinal properties of turmeric have been known since ancient times in Southeast Asia. It has been used as an antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises, as an antibacterial agent and as an anti-inflammatory recommended for Rheumatoid Arthritis. It has also been used as a remedy for irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal conditions and is now being studied for possible use in cancer, Alzheimers, and AIDS in addition to stroke.
If it sounds like turmeric is a wonder drug, it is. And there are others just like it. The reason I include it on a site devoted to Rheumatoid Arthritis is that spices and other botanicals can be little miracles just waiting to be discovered.
My friend Maria had a chronic asthma-related cough for many years that numerous doctors had been unable to fix. She called it her air pollution cough, since anything floating in the air, like cigarette smoke, diesel exhaust or perfume, set it off. It was so constant and so intense that she thought she was headed to an early disability retirement. To control the severe hacking she was taking theophylline, a prescription drug that comes with a warning of possible sudden death. It was only marginally useful for her cough.
On an extended car trip one day she took ginger to control motion sickness. The ginger worked the way it was supposed to and eliminated her nausea, but something else happened. To her stunned amazement, her cough vanished.
She and I combed the medical literature and searched for anecdotal evidence but could find no mention anywhere that ginger could affect an asthmatic, chronic cough. We began to think that Maria had found magic that was unique to herself. But that wasn’t true.
Eventually we unearthed the rest of the story. In addition to its many well-known medicinal properties, including as an anti-inflammatory, ginger has another characteristic that is less known. It is a powerful anti-spasmodic, which is why it calmed her cough. How many other spasm-related conditions could this simple spice, easily available and found in most kitchen pantries, cure if more people knew?
Strictly by accident, Maria had stumbled into her own personal miracle. And that is my point. Expect a miracle. You never know when one is waiting in plain sight for you to show up.
Below is a list of other spices and herbs with known medicinal properties.
Several very effective botanicals are not on the list. One is FEVERFEW, a relative of the daisy flower, which magically eliminated my migraine headaches and those of everyone I recommended it to. I took it daily in low doses. No side effects, no dangerous drugs, and no more migraines
Another is BLACK COHOSH, an over the counter and extremely effective remedy for the symptoms of menopause. It can completely eliminate any need for hormones or other therapy. Unknown numbers of women believe that it, too, is miraculous.
ECHINACEA, or purple coneflower, the recent subject of another post on this site, has been scientifically validated to boost the immune system and shorten colds.
Many of the botanicals listed here can be grown in your own garden.
For information about how to use the herbs and spices listed below, go to Using Herbs and Spices for Health.
Garlic is one of the best-known and widely used herbal medicines. Garlic is a strong weapon against infection and a natural antibiotic. It has been found to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure and is sometimes used to treat yeast infections.
Chamomile is often used as a tea for its mild sedative effects. It is also used to soother digestive ailments and to reduce fever. It may also be applied topically to soothe skin irritations and diaper rash.
A common household spice, nutmeg is a natural stimulant to the cardiovascular system. It is also used to relieve the joint inflammation associated with gout. This spice should be used carefully since large doses can be toxic. It is not to be used by pregnant women or children as a herbal remedy.
This spice may also be used as an antiseptic agent when crushed and applied to clean cuts and abrasions. As a tea, it calms the stomach and can reduce the pain of menstrual cramps. Thyme may also be used as a treatment for colds.
Ginger has many medicinal uses. It is a very effective treatment for motion sicknesss and general nausea. It is also use to treat menstrual cramps and the nausea associated with chemotherapy.
This pungent herb is used as a remedy for colds, sore throat and other respiratory ailments, as well as urinary tract problems. It has been used to control some symptoms of diabetes.
Fennel is a herb used widely to treat infant colic and gas. It is also a strong liver detoxifier and diuretic.
Fenugreek is used by many women who suffer from the symptoms of menopause–hot flashes, night sweats, etc. It is also used to reduce cholesterol and relieve constipation. It has been discovered that fenugreek binds with wholesterol in the intestine and encourages the excretion of cholesterol from the body.
Cloves act as a wound antiseptic by killing harmful bacteria. It is also used to treat indigestion and diarrhea. Cloves also acts as a deterrent to free-radical damage to the body.
Rosemary is another herbal remedy which calms the digestive system. As an oil, it is used to help relieve sore muscles and increase circulation when applied to the skin.
This spice has been used to treat arthritis, dysentery and heart disease. It is also believed to lower the risk for certain cancers by attacking free radicals.
CAYENNE (RED PEPPER)
Cayenne may be taken or used topically. It contains capsaicin, a substance which is also used as an active ingredient in many commercial pain medications. Cayenne also aids in digestion.
This spice is also used to treat heart disease, high blood pressure and to reduce cholesterol.
Another digestive calmant, coriander is used to treat colic and general nausea.
This spice is used to ocntrol the level of blood sugar for diabetics. It is also used to relieve the symptoms of urinary tract infections and yeast infections.
This is a powerful detoxifier and is used to relieve sore throat, gum inflammation and yeast infections.
Used to relieve various respiratory problems, oregano may also relieve digestive upset and yeast infections.
Licorice root is a remedy to relieve menopausal symptoms. In some instances, it has been found to have as much effect as hormone replacement therapy in women.
Studies have shown saffron to be instrumental in destroying the cancer cells that cause leukemia.
Curcumin is being studied as a treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.